Single-Hung windows and horizontal sliding windows are the predominant choice for window functionality. But, certainly these window types are not ideal for every design.
Horizontal Sliding Windows
Horizontal sliding windows have quickly become a popular choice in window type. One reason for this is that slider windows are able to be installed into wider openings than any other window type. This design advantage allows more light into a room, with a single operable window. In contrast, window manufacturers limit how wide they build traditional Casement, Single-Hung or Double-Hung windows. Using a single window frame, manufacturers can typically build hung windows up to 52” wide. Whereas manufacturers can build horizontal sliding windows up to 96” wide. The wider window frame also gives you the ability to create more ventilation.
Window professionals consider Horizontal sliding windows a low-maintenance window type. Slider Windows also have the fewest amount of mechanical parts that can fail over time. Consequently, window manufacturers are able to sell slider windows at the most affordable rate because there are fewer mechanical parts.
Horizontal sliding windows do have some disadvantages, though. For example, when slider windows are built too tall, homeowners may find that glass can separate from the sash frame. Over time, a person causes the separation by grabbing the sash frame and pulling the sash open and closed repeatedly . Repeated pulling motion over time can cause the sealant, that secures the glass to the frame, to fail. When this happens, exterior air can move between the glass and the frame – causing a window to feel drafty. Even if glass separation doesn’t happen, slider windows do not perform as well with Air Infiltration as other window types.
Horizontal sliders also have a tendency to collect dirt in the track that the window slides over. If not cleaned regularly, dirt will inevitably begin building up in the rollers in the bottom of the sash. In time, the build-up can cause difficulty in operation or even cause mechanical breakage.
Single-Hung & Double-Hung Windows
Single-Hung and Double-Hung windows have operable sashes that move vertically to allow for ventilation. These windows are a great choice in window type, in part, because they offer a somewhat unobstructed view. This is due to the area where the two sashes meet being below eye level.
Double-Hung windows are also easier to clean than most types of windows. This is due to the homeowners ability to tilt a sash or both sashes into the house. This gives the ability to clean both sides of the glass from inside the house. Double-hung windows also give you the ability to vent from the top or bottom portion of the window.
Homeowners can also create privacy and ventilation through the use of a double-hung window. For example, a double-hung with obscure glass is perfect for a bathroom. You can open the top portion of the window, while leaving the bottom portion of the window closed and obscured.
Double-hung windows are limited in the width they can be constructed. This limitation not only reduces the amount of light allowed, but ventilation is also limited – through a single frame . You operate double-hung windows by either moving the bottom sash up or the top sash down. Like slider windows, double-hung and single-hung windows do not perform as well with blocking air infiltration as other window types.
Casement and Awning Windows
Casement windows are windows that open like a door. Awning Windows are also windows that open like a door (only they hinge from the top of the frame). These types of windows are the second most efficient type of window, next to picture (or fixed, non-operable) windows.
The reason that casement and awning windows are so efficient is due to the how the window closes. Window locking mechanisms bring the sash in further by pulling the sash against the frame – creating an airtight seal. Casement windows also offer the greatest level of unobstructed vision for a single framed window. A single sash configuration is what creates the greater amount of unobstructed vision for this type of window. This is also the reason that casement windows offer the greatest amount of ventilation. When casement windows open, the entire window opens, unlike hung or slider windows that only ventilate half of the window.
Like single-hung and double-hung windows, casement windows are limited in size. Casement windows need to be built small because, when opened, the frame and hardware must support the weight of the sash. Also, because you open and close casement windows mechanically, there is a greater chance for mechanical failure over time.
Another downside of casement windows is that window manufacturers design screens to be on the interior side of the window. While this placement protects screens from wear caused by sun and elements, likelihood of damage from pets is greater.
Fixed Sash (Picture) Windows
Picture, or fixed sash, windows are windows cannot be opened for ventilation. Often, this window type’s primary purpose is to enjoy a beautiful view. Homeowners are able to enjoy their view more fully because picture windows eliminate the need for additional horizontal or vertical window framing. This additional framing breaks the line of sight – as seen with slider windows and single (or double) hung windows.
Because picture windows do not open, they are also the most affordable window type. This is largely due to the reduction in frame material and mechanical parts. Throughout the life of the window the cost is further reduced because of lack of mechanical parts to replace – to keep the window functioning properly.
Another great benefit of picture windows is that they can provide architectural accents through the ability to be produced in a variety of shapes. Their ability to be manufactured in a variety of shapes is really contributed to not having the requirement to be opened for ventilation.
Picture windows are also the most energy efficient window type available. Specifically, picture windows are the most efficient at blocking air infiltration.
There are not a lot of disadvantages of picture windows. However, there are a couple. For example, picture windows do not have the ability for ventilation. Having the ability to ventilate can be particularly important in areas like kitchens, bathrooms, or indoor hot tub rooms.
If glass is broken or needs replacement, in a large picture windows, the cost can be significantly more than other types of windows. For example, if glass is broken in a single-hung window, likely only one glass unit would need to be replaced. So, only half of the glass within the frame would need to be replaced – whereas all of the glass within a picture window frame would need to be replaced.
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